Modular Walls Vs Brick Walls5 Mins
In 2002, we invented the world’s first freestanding masonry alternative modular wall. Since then, this one invention has evolved to begin a fencing revolution in Australia, with over 16,000 projects choosing to #makeitmodular! So, what’s the fuss all about? Check out our comprehensive side-by-side comparison of brick walls vs modular walls below.
First thing’s first — how much are you saving, here? In recent years, the cost of bricks has gone through some pretty heavy spikes in certain parts of Australia. Depending on the material and labour costs in your local area, you could be saving up to a whopping 50% by choosing modular walls!
For instance, compared to brick walls, this is where our VogueWall and EstateWall sit (per lineal metre at 1.8m high):
- $190 +GST for a VogueWall modular wall
- $240 +GST for an EstateWall modular wall
- $550 to $800 for a brick fence (plus an extra $60-80 per square metre for rendering costs)*
This dramatic price reduction is due to both materials and labour. Traditionally, if you were after a smooth, rendered finish, you would have to build a brick wall and then render it. With modular walls and fences, the panels themselves have a cementitious finish; this means that with a quick lick of exterior paint, you’ve achieved the same rendered aesthetic!
Rapid install is the other money saver; on average, modular wall and fence systems are installed up to 5 times faster than traditional rendered brick. Considering the rates that bricklayers charge per day, that translates to a very healthy saving! If you’re looking to save costs even further, just read on!
Take home message: On average, depending on local prices of brickwork, modular walls could save you up to 50%.
*all price comparisons for other fencing options in this article have been sourced from hipages.com and are indicative only
Can you DIY it?
To build a brick wall, most councils require applications and legal approvals. Once that’s done, brick walls require a fair amount of expertise and know-how to avoid mistakes which can be ugly at best, or structurally unsafe at worst. Finally, rendering demands a high level of skill to achieve that smooth, modern finish — all in all, it’s best left to the professionals!
On the other hand, our modular wall systems were specifically designed with the DIYer in mind. You simply concrete the posts in, slide in the panels, pop on the capping and finish as desired. The best part? You save even more money, without the labour costs!
Take home message: Modular walls are DIY friendly, while brick walls are best left to professional tradespeople!
As mentioned above, brick walls can take a fair amount of time to build. Between waiting for approvals, preparing strip footings, laying the bricks and rendering the finished wall, the install time of a brick wall could end up being up to five times longer than that of modular walls and fences. In fact, for a 10-20 metre run, without anything too tricky to tackle, modular alternatives can be installed over a single weekend!
Another notable factor is the ease of installation in general. Brick walls usually require council permits, whilst modular walls usually only need approval for over a certain height. Due to its weight and strip footings, masonry walls cannot be built over underground services, easements or too close to pool boundaries, while modular walls offer a lightweight solution that are suitable for all three scenarios.
Take home message: Modular wall systems can be installed easier, in a fraction of the time, in more challenging applications.
As far as noise reduction goes, brick walls have long since held first place across all types of fences. On average, a brick wall offers approx. 40dB noise reduction.
However, if you don’t have the budget or time to put aside to brick, ModularWalls’ products have been tested by the National Acoustic Laboratory of Australia, offering an average 20-25dB reduction; which equates to a quartering of loudness (to understand that difference, watch a video at 100% volume, and then again at 25%!).
In our 16 years, we’ve found that this level of reduction meets or exceeds around 90% of the residential noise issues that our customers have brought to us.
In fact, our modular wall systems are such good value for acoustic performance, that they’ve been chosen by the likes of commercial chains such as Coles, McDonald’s, ALDI and KFC, as well as for numerous childcare centres, road noise barriers and other public works. Watch the SlimWall vs Lawn Mower test here!
Take home message: Brick walls offer the highest noise reduction out of all fencing types, but modular walls still offer high acoustic properties for its price point.
Pictures speak a thousand words…so let’s just play a game. Which of these are rendered brick walls, and which are modular walls? Swipe across for the answers!
Take home message: Both offer the same premium aesthetic.
Rendered brick is very durable and fairly low maintenance, with two exceptions — ground movement and drainage. Over time, the earth will shift and brick walls simply cannot move with them, resulting in cracks and eventual crumbling. For blocks dealing with heavy run off, drainage can also take its toll on the wall, even with weep holes.
However, due to the post and panel nature of modular walls, they offer extra allowance for ground movement, as well as easy drainage under the panels. When made with high quality, Australian Made materials, they are also incredibly durable and low maintenance. Additionally, ModularWalls offers a 10 year warranty for all their wall systems!
Take home message: Both options are very durable, with modular walls offering an advantage with ground movement allowance.
Is it Aussie-proof?
Both masonry and modular walls are suitable fencing options for all bushfire zones. ModularWalls’ wall systems deliver a standard BAL 29 rating, with the option to customise the panels to achieve a BAL 40 rating.
For fencing in cyclonic wind regions, additional building codes require brick walls to be reinforced, to ensure minimal damage during strong winds.
One the other hand, all of our wall systems are engineered for any wind region; in fact, one of our DIY customers from the Whitsundays, QLD, chose a modular wall after Cyclone Debbie tore her brick pool wall down. However, suitability depends on terrain and height. For more info, you can check out our detailed guide to how to choose fencing for your wind region.
Take home message: Both brick and modular walls are ‘Aussie-proof’.
Don’t just take our word for it, though — read what our customers say about us and find out why this is the fastest growing fencing revolution in Australia.
For more side-by-side fence comparisons, check out:
Written by Evelyn Kandris